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“So much fun!”

Grand Canyon Mule Tours by Xanterra
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed December 27, 2013 via mobile

We took the rim tour and it was perfect. Maybe next time we will do the overnight into the canyon. Our mules were well trained and steady. They made us feel comfortable right away. We had Marcie and Mac. Beautiful views, helpful guides and a memorable ride along the rim.

6  Thank TakeMeAway44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"phantom ranch"
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"steak dinner"
in 18 reviews
"transportation desk"
in 12 reviews
"family style"
in 11 reviews
"bright angel lodge"
in 35 reviews
"saddle sore"
in 5 reviews
"bunk beds"
in 9 reviews
"rear end"
in 4 reviews
"the cantina"
in 6 reviews
"hour ride"
in 15 reviews
"afraid of heights"
in 21 reviews
"long sleeve shirt"
in 8 reviews
"weight limit"
in 8 reviews
"safety talk"
in 4 reviews
"box lunch"
in 10 reviews
"cornbread"
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231 - 235 of 313 reviews

Reviewed December 27, 2013

Riding mules to the bottom of the Grand Canyon has been on our bucket list for many years. And finally we can say we have done it! My husband and I are in our early 60's and I was a bit concerned about if we could tolerate the ride. We are quite physically active and walk several miles daily so perhaps that helped us to do just fine. Yes, we were sore the next day when ever we sat on something hard, but we weren't crippled by any means. We stayed for two nights at Phantom Ranch and if you go in the winter when its dark by 5:15, that is a good thing to try and do. This gave us a day to recuperate and take a hike up towards the North Rim. The mules we rode were steady, had an easy gait, and seemed to know every twist and turn of the trail. The ride going into the canyon stops at Indian Gardens for lunch. This gave us a chance to get off the mules, stretch our legs, and use the restroom. The provided box lunch while not gourmet, was tasty. Our cabin at Phantom Ranch was charming and the bed was comfortable. Yes the furnishings are sparse, but then the purpose of our trip was to experience one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth and not to hang out at the Ritz. A small herd of surprisingly tame deer roam the Ranch's grounds. Our steak meal the first night was very good as were the breakfasts both mornings. Our sack lunch was more than adequate and we saved some of it to munch on going out of the canyon the next day. The stew dinner the next night was on the bland side and could use some help. We hung out at the Cantina in the evening and enjoyed talking with the other riders and hikers. The ride up and out of the canyon was definitely easier on our joints than going down. And there were lots of stops to rest the mules and enjoy the spectacular views. We were able to see big horn sheep and soaring condors during our trip. All of the wranglers that accompanied our trip were informative and made sure we were safe.

15  Thank SaltLakeCityTania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2013

We rode the mules to the Phantom Ranch down the Bright Angel Trail and back up the South Kaibab Trail. We were in the capable hands of our two wranglers Don and Mattie. I could have not made it without their help. My mule was Possum and my husband was on Able. I had trouble with my mule eating and stopping. My husband who had never ridden an animal had no trouble. I have a little fear of heights but I just would look at the high wall or the trail. Be sure and drink your water even in the winter. The lunch they provide is to keep your salt levels right. I was a little shaky by the time we made it to Phantom Ranch but I drank 2 Gatorades and some lemonade and I was fine. We were served a steak dinner family style at the ranch. On the way down we saw quite a few deer at our lunch stop. The next day we saw a large mountain sheep right on the trail. No one had time to take a picture of him but he was beautiful. We also saw some Blue Jays and California Condors and a red wing hawk.

5  Thank Smokedogaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

We took the Rim Tour, (formerly known as the Abyss Tour). They have been changing some of the tours and this one was a pleasant surprise... its only about 2.5 hours total and less strenuous than going into the canyon... more for picture taking than going into the canyon.

Cant say enough about the guides and the staff at the Mule barn... they did a great job and if you take kids (55inches tall) dont worry... everyone is in good hands. Well worth the money

3  Thank Chris D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 15, 2013

Riding the mules down the canyon was something that I have wanted to do for many years and thought I would never do. When my oldest daughter suggested we go together I jumped at the chance. However I was worried because I am older (61) with back issues. But I had a year to prepare because October is a prime month to go and our reservations were made in October 2012. I would recommend that anyone do some exercises or take a few horseback trail rides just to get a little accustomed to the feel of it. But trust me you will still be sore after that many hours on the mule. Our group was a little unusual in that it consisted of 10 women, which hardly happens. Not only that, we were an older group - my daughter at age 33 was clearly the youngest one. The ride down is definitely the most scary. This is because you have not gotten used to it yet, and you also constantly feel that you are pitching forward. In fact you need to adjust your posture to lean backwards slightly. The first stop is very early in the descent and our wrangler stopped to say a Navajo prayer for the safety of the mules and the passengers. At this point I am thinking "what have I gotten myself into?" and I can hear my daughter behind me saying "oh, no, oh my God!" because her mule was kicking up a bit. At this point our other wrangler Ed got off his mule and came to check our saddles and reassured us that all was well. So we calmed down a bit and did not chicken out. However I am the first to admit that we were hanging on to the reins and saddle horn for dear life. It is also a little disconcerting when the mules stop along the trail you must turn them so they are facing outward. You really are very close to the edge and the constant hairpin turns can be nerve wracking. Yet once we settled down we were able to enjoy the ride and the breathtaking scenery. At the bottom at Phantom Ranch we received a warm welcome and it was just as described in the other reviews on this website. I must say that on those old bunk beds I slept better than I had in years. I had dosed myself with Tylenol and anti-inflammatories and slathered on the Arnica gel and Biofreeze, and woke up in decent shape for the ride up. On the way up there are more stops to let the mules rest, thus more photo opportunities. Not only that you are much more accustomed to the mules. There are some breathtaking views on the trail up (Kaibob). One of the coolest things at the end is that the tourists at the rim see the mule train coming up and a crowd forms to greet you, and people will say "good for you" and "how's your butt?" and things like that. Let me tell you that the euphoria of having finished the ride makes all the pain go away. When you think of how few people accomplish this it is really something to marvel at. In closing I can't say enough about our wranglers Simon and Ed. They were the best! On the exterior you are seeing "cowboys" but rest assured they are total professionals who are keeping a watchful eye on you and making sure that there are no problems with you or your mule. There is no doubt in my mind that they could handle any situation that presented itself. They work very hard for their money and are most appreciative of the tips - PLEASE treat them well, they totally deserve it. When not escorting trips they are working the stables and I can tell you that I have never seen animals so well cared for. I would say that Xanterra seems to be a class operation and I wholeheartedly recommend this trip.

10  Thank Mary Ann M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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